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Old 09-28-2004, 11:30 PM   #1
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Routers vs Switches

My friend just asked me this and I was kind of wondering what the answer was.

Q: Let's say I have a 4 port router WITHOUT switch. What does that do for you?

A: Well, if you just have a 4 port router, that enables you to have NAT (multiple internal IP addresses) which means 4 computers can go online sharing that same IP address. However, those 4 computers cannot network share anything (they can't see each other).

Now, my question that the correct answer I gave him? Hmm, I'm starting to wonder if my router/switching understanding is somewhat skewed. Thanks for any pointers!

Old 09-28-2004, 11:53 PM   #2
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Well i am not sure such a thing exists. Honnestly it would be more of a HUB/gimped router. So you computers could see each other the only problem is that the router would send all the traffic it receives to everyone.
Old 09-29-2004, 01:26 PM   #3
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Swithces are only used for internal LANs, so to connect to the internet you need a router. You can just plug four computers into that and you can see them all, share stuff etc. So your statement about not being able to share with a router is wrong I am afraid.

A switch is pretty much the same as a router, except with no WAN access. I share a house with 4 people, 3 upstairs and me downstairs, our cable modem is downstairs in my room. I have my computer and the cable modem plugged into a router. Then a port from the router connects to a switch upstairs and then that connects into the individual PCs, all have internet access, all can see each other and share files. Having the switch means only running one wire up the stairs.

Last edited by dave_starsky; 09-29-2004 at 01:27 PM.
Old 09-29-2004, 02:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for clearing that up!

Old 09-30-2004, 12:03 PM   #5
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the majority of home routers have 4-8 port switches already built in

A switch acts more like a smart hub. Using a switch without a router connected to your cable modem would require that each computer have a separate IP address from your ISP. We get calls alot where people have switches instead of routers and wonder why one computer but not the rest can get online.

Switches are good for expanding and taking the workload off your internal network.

Hope that helps


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